As the most popular U.S. travel destination - a record 55 million guests visited in 2011 - Orlando boasts everything you would expect from a world-class city, with many unexpected surprises. The area’s famous theme parks and attractions are obviously a large part of the draw, but its unique dining and entertainment districts, upscale shopping, and thriving arts scene are also part of the allure. And don’t forget about the nearly endless sunshine, blue skies, and warm temperatures that make Orlando an ideal location to live, work, or play.
If you haven’t been to Orlando lately, you’re missing out on a dynamic destination that is constantly transforming. There are new hotels like the Hilton Orlando, the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, and the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, as well as the upcoming Four Seasons Orlando Resort. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts - located in downtown Orlando - is currently under construction. And Lake Nona Medical City recently expanded with the opening of the Nemours Children’s Hospital and Research Campus. To put it mildly, Orlando is on the move.
1. The Peabody Orlando
It’s no wonder why earlier this year Cvent ranked The Peabody Orlando as the No. 1 convention hotel in the country - it was recently expanded to include a new 31-story tower, giving the property a total of 1,641 sleeping rooms and 300,000 square feet of meeting space. And the Peabody Orlando has installed ChargePoint electric-vehicle chargers in its self-parking garage - part of the nearly 300 ChargePoint stations in Orlando.
2. SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando immerses guests in the sea’s mysteries through up-close animal discoveries, amazing attractions, thrilling rides, and unforgettable performances. Attendees will find new experiences like TurtleTrek, a unique blend of animal encounters. The theme park is currently undergoing its largest-ever expansion with Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, an adventure ride to the frozen south, opening during spring 2013.
3. Hard Rock Live Orlando
Located in Universal CityWalk at the Universal Orlando Resort, the Hard Rock Live is a 3,000-seat concert venue that books some of the biggest names in rock ’n’ roll, hip-hop, dance music, and comedy. The Hard Rock Live is also available for afterhours functions or corporate events - allowing you to make an impression by booking the private Lennon Room lounge, which features memorabilia and furniture from John and Yoko’s Manhattan apartment.
4. Universal CityWalk
This 30-acre entertainment complex located inside the Universal Orlando Resort is a self-contained universe that offers an electrifying selection of dining and nightlife experiences. At CityWalk, your attendees can hold court at Emeril’s Orlando, dine at the world’s largest Hard Rock Café, lose track of time and space with the Blue Man Group, and chill out island-style at Bob Marley - A Tribute to Freedom - all in one night.
5. Orange County Convention Center (OCCC)
While the OCCC is the country’s second-largest meeting facility, with 2.1 million square feet of exhibition space, industry professionals rank it No. 1. Business Review USA rated the top 10 U.S. convention centers in 2012, and the OCCC was selected as the best of its class. And it’s easy to see why - the center’s massive space and flexible design can accommodate just about any group or event.
Sidebar: Proximity to OCCC
While the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is indeed massive, it is also centrally located, with 15 first-class hotels and 13,000 sleeping rooms within a one-mile radius. Multiple pedestrian walkways and bridges connect several of those hotels to the OCCC, and Pointe Orlando, a dining and entertainment complex, is just a quick walk away.
PCMA will hold its Convening Leaders 2013 annual meeting in Orlando on Jan. 13–16. On the agenda: high-level education, first-class networking, and unlimited sunshine.
Looking for an upscale steakhouse? How about a wine bar or a new neighborhood bistro? Or want to make reservations where the locals go? Orlando dining has it all. Distinctive dining and entertainment districts include the Convention Area, Restaurant Row, Winter Park, Downtown, Universal/CityWalk, and Disney/ Lake Buena Vista.
For more information: orlandomeeting.com